Here’s Why This Is Not a Good Leadership Model as a Manager

Are You a ‘Musher’ Manager? Here’s Why That’s Not a Good Leadership Model

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It’s early Monday morning and Simon, president of eLearning Mind, is sitting amongst darkened computer screens and empty desks.

Most ELM employees won’t walk through the doors of our San Diego office until 9 a.m., but Simon likes having an hour to an hour and a half of quiet time to start his day. “I wake around 5:30 and catch up on news,” he says. “Being up early also frees me up for communication with the New York office.”

It might sound like a regular day-in-the-life routine, but the way Simon and all of the founders at ELM approach the morning is actually a calculated method for peak productivity in both the New York and San Diego locations. Not only does a couple hours of quiet time let Simon work uninterrupted, but it sends a clear message to all of our employees: autonomy is a good thing.

Productivity can be a slippery concept. Laden with opinions and subjectivity, we realize that there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to help a business work faster and smarter. But for ELM, productivity hasn’t been a matter of cracking a whip or looking over employees’ shoulders; it’s getting out of employees’ way so they can do the job we hired them to do.

“Musher” Management

Some managers and leaders believe that in order to squeeze every ounce of potential out of their employees, they have to follow a “dog sled” mentality; standing at the back of the sled, calling out orders and urging employees to work faster while the manager is pulled along. But any good dog sled racer can tell you that the best results occur when the racer (“musher”) gets off the sled and starts to push, letting his team lead while he assumes a supporting role instead. Without the added weight and with extra support, the racing dogs are free to explore their top speed and full potential.

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Andrew Fayad is the CEO and managing partner of eLearning Mind, an e-learning design and development agency that helps companies transform their existing learning materials into memorable and engaging e-learning experiences.

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